Matthews – Putting best foot forward

There’s only one game left before finals football and Hayden Matthews insists the Sky Blues are going all out to land a home Elimination Final this weekend.

Ufuk Talay’s team need results to go their way to secure a big game at Allianz Stadium after losing to Macarthur FC last Saturday.

And with the Head Coach frustrated by the performance at the Bulls, the squad have been putting in the hard yards this week ahead of Sunday’s 3pm kick off against Perth Glory at Allianz Stadium.

“As a group we have looked at that performance in where we went wrong and now we will look to put it right against Perth.

Matthews in action against Perth Glory last time out

“Even though this is the last game of the season for them, they are still going to come here and try to win so we are going to have to put our best foot forward to give ourselves the best chance of beating them,” Matthews said.

“A home Elimination Final isn’t in our hands anymore, however we can only do what we can do and that is get three points against Perth Glory on Sunday and hopefully set up a home Elimination Final at Allianz Stadium.”

The Sky Blues can secure a home Elimination Final if Macarthur lose to Wellington and they beat Perth Glory

This season, Hayden Matthews has surged through the ranks at Sydney FC.

He has gone from the Senior Academy to the first team in a matter of months and now is first choice centre back alongside his teenage partner Jake Girdwood-Reich.

With this rise and fame, Matthews has to keep himself grounded, which at times he admits is easier said than done.

“It’s been a whirlwind. It’s all happened so quickly.

“I’ve been in and around the boys for a while now and that has made the transition easier and the boys have been super helpful on and off the field with the added media and attention,” he said.

“It’s not easy though [to keep yourself grounded].

“The expectations of others are great and getting the commendations and recognition is also great but I know what I can do and it’s more about my personal expectations that matter to me the most.

“It’s about putting my best foot forward each and every week because I want to keep playing and developing as a footballer.”

This weekend, the teenage defender will come up against Adam Taggart from Perth Glory who is currently leading the golden boot standings and will be looking to find the net to give the Western Australians a lift in what has been another disappointing season which has seen them consigned to the bottom of the table.

Adam Taggart has scored the most ever goals by a Glory player in one season

Taggart was recently called back into the Socceroos squad for his exploits in the Isuzu UTE A-League this season and has plenty of experience having played in Korea, Japan and Scotland across his career.

He is looking to make it eight goals in eight matches against Sydney FC, which will make Matthew’s task on Sunday very tough, but one that he is ready to learn from and use to develop.

“I really enjoy coming up against players like Taggart because each week is a different challenge.

“Every striker has their own strengths that they try to get out of the game and Taggart is very smart,” he said.

“I remember in the last game I went to clear the ball and he gave me a little nudge and it put me off balance. It’s not a foul but he’s letting me know he’s there and it’s something that I’ve got to expect from a player of his quality and standards.”

Finally, with Finals around the corner, the central defender is looking forward to the prospect of playing in his first Finals match, where so much is on the line across one 90 minute period.

They will be doing everything in their power to ensure that the Elimination Final is at home against Macarthur FC.

“I’m excited and looking forward to playing in the Finals.

“They’re the games that you want to be involved in as a player and look forward to the most.

“The fans absolutely love these games and the crowds have been growing this season and hopefully they continue to grow.

“Fingers crossed we can secure a home Elimination Final at Allianz next weekend,” Matthews concluded.

Match Details

Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 26
Sunday 28th April 2024
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 3:00pm AEST
Gates Open: 2:00pm AEST
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Bold
Tickets: Click Here
Matchday Partner: Ronald McDonald House Charities